Technology is constantly changing, but the Foothill Technology High School website hasn’t for six years. That is why this coming fall, Foothill will be launching a redesigned, simpler and hopefully more efficient site.
Every component of the current website is being redone.
Originally, one teacher designed the website on a program called WordPress, but now the school is switching to a company called Finalsite because it is one of the largest website companies used by schools in the nation.
One of the biggest changes with the production of this new site will be the merging of the Wiki and the website. Since the website will be more cohesive and will have more fluidity in what different contributors to the site can own, there is no need for the Wiki. Teachers will now use the new site as a platform for their syllabi, daily agendas and more.
Once the new site is up, students will be able to access information about their classes, and Foothill as a whole all in one succinct place.
Furthermore, constant upgrades to the site will be happening once it is up.
Principal Joe Bova says that the endeavor is important because a school website “is the face of your school and should be the hub for everything.”
When the idea of trading sites first came about last fall, the School Site Council gave approval for the school to invest in the new site.
Currently, the Foothill staff are in the process of designing the new site. According to Bova, “we are probably halfway through the [transformation] process.”
Finalsite has templates for different designs, however, the Foothill team gets to fill in the information, choose colors and customize the layout. Having decided on a template, now the staff is filtering through colors, pictures and other creative details for the new site.
Wendy Dowler plays a key role in what the final product of the site will be. It’s her job to transfer the 1,500-2,000 pages on the current website to the new one. She has been spending time filtering through the current website and learning to navigate the new backend that controls the production of the new site.
“I know how the website and the Wiki work, but this company has their own way of doing things on the backend so learning all that is pretty daunting,” Dowler said. “But luckily, I like learning new things.”
Some things that Dowler is looking forward to in regards to the new website is that adjustments can be made to have a more “intuitive layout.” What this means is that the website resizes appropriately based off of what device the viewer is using to access the site. Dowler says this is a key adjustment, because now “60 percent of people using websites are doing it on their phones.”
Another thing Dowler is anticipating is having an organization that is able to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so that everyone can view the site with ease.
Dowler’s goal for the future is that Foothill will be able to “do our online registration all online, so no packets would go home.” In fact, she hopes that this process will be completely paperless one day, but as of right now that isn’t possible because some required documents are printed from the district.
“We’re going to be ahead of where the district is as far as websites,” said Dowler, “so we’re hoping that we will start this [technological expansion] and then it will grow throughout the district.”
Dowler has taken on the huge responsibility of generating the new Foothill website, but she is excitedly prospecting the outcome.
“I feel very nervous because it’s our entire school website, and that’s […] the online face of the school, so I want to make sure it looks good,” she said. “It’s a big responsibility.”